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UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT PASSES LAND CODE DESPITE COMMUNIST FURY. The parliament on 25 October voted by 232 to two to pass a Land Code with a controversial clause allowing the buying and selling of farmland after 2004. More than 160 communist and leftist deputies refused to vote, Reuters reported. Communist deputies blocked the debate for some time by occupying the tribune and preventing Agricultural Committee Chairwoman Kateryna Vashchuk from presenting the bill. When the bill came to a vote, communists yanked out wires to disable the parliament's electronic voting system. When the parliamentary leadership ordered a manual vote, some 15 communist lawmakers broke the ballot box and destroyed most of the ballots. JM

PROBE OPENED INTO DEATHS OF UKRAINIAN SPEAKER'S DRIVER, BODYGUARD. Prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation on suspicion of murder into the deaths of a driver and a bodyguard of parliamentary speaker Ivan Plyushch (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October 2001), UNIAN reported on 25 October. The Interior Ministry said on 24 October that both deaths were caused by "an acute coronary deficiency and ischemic heart disease." However, the driver's sister told the New Channel television that the bodies of the two dead men revealed signs that they had been beaten. JM

ENVIRONMENTALISTS PROTEST SHIPMENT OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL ACROSS UKRAINE. Five Russian environmental groups on 25 October appealed to the Ukrainian parliament and President Leonid Kuchma to halt plans to transport some 40 tons of spent nuclear fuel in a train from Bulgaria's Kozlodui power plant to Russia through Ukraine, AP reported. The environmental organizations said in an open letter that half of all nuclear fuel accidents occur during transportation. "At present, the movement of nuclear materials outside nuclear power plants creates the possibility for terrorist attacks," they noted. The shipment was authorized by a 1997 agreement among Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, and Bulgaria. JM

UKRAINE TO PAY CRASH COMPENSATION ONLY AFTER FINAL REPORT. Prime Minister Anatoliy Kinakh said on 25 October that "all financial and legal issues" connected with the accidental downing of a Russian Tu- 154 airliner with a Ukrainian missile will be solved only after the Ukrainian and Russian state commissions investigating the causes of the crash publish their final conclusions, UNIAN reported. JM

UKRAINIAN JOURNALIST FOUND DEAD. Yuriy Honchar, a part-time correspondent for the "Fakty i Kommentarii" newspaper, has been found dead in Kyiv, apparently as the result of violence, UNIAN reported on 25 October, quoting a police source. JM

ROMANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS TREATY WITH RUSSIA IN OFFING. Ion Iliescu said on 25 October that there are no issues that cannot be solved relating to the negotiations on the basic treaty with Russia, RFE/RL's Bucharest bureau reported. Iliescu also said the issue of the return of the Romanian state treasury that was sent to Moscow during World War I should not be addressed by this treaty. He said there are "more delicate problems" relating to the basic treaty signed with Ukraine as a result of the haste with which that document was signed, and that reopening a "dialogue" on the matter has been discussed with his Ukrainian counterpart Leonid Kuchma. "We must find a way to jointly exploit resources in the Black Sea, cooperating for that purpose rather than competing with one another," Iliescu concluded. MS

MOLDOVAN COMMUNIST IDEOLOGUE ATTACKS PREMIER. Mark Tkachuk, a member of the parliament's Permanent Bureau, who is considered to be one of the chief ideologists of the Party of Moldovan Communists (PCM), on 25 October demanded the dismissal of Vasile Tarlev as premier, Infotag reported. In an interview on the website, Tkachuk accused the cabinet of "sabotage" and of "deliberately flubbing negotiations with the Russian and Ukrainian premiers." He said the government is being manipulated by former President Petru Lucinschi, and is "a strong and clever enemy" of the PCM. He said Lucinschi built a "pyramid of power" over the years, and it would be "naive" to believe that structure could be dismantled in the eight months following the elections. MS

...BUT MAY HAVE ALFA-GROUP COMPETITION. Kokh and company are likely to face stiff competition in efforts to buy Gazprom-Media, says "The Russia Journal." The Alfa-Group, controlled by Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, already includes large stakes in STS, Nizhnii Novgorod's Nika-TV, St. Petersburg's Channel 6 and Ukraine's New Channel. As STS General Director Roman Petrenko told "The Russia Journal," "[the Alfa-Group] will likely try to make good on any opportunity to take control of NTV." ("The Russia Journal," 19-25 October)


AMNESTY: 'PRESS FREEDOM CURTAILED.' Amnesty International on 15 October said curtailment of the freedom of expression persists in Ukraine 10 years after it declared independence. "Press freedom has also been curtailed through overt forms of harassment and intimidation, whereby journalists have been physically attacked by unknown assailants, sometimes resulting in death. The circumstances surrounding many of these attacks remain unresolved and only occasionally have those responsible been brought to justice," the world's human rights watchdog said. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 16 October)

PARLIAMENT QUERIES TOP OFFICIALS ABOUT MELNYCHENKO'S TAPES. The parliament on 17 October questioned the head of the Council of National Security and Defense, the Security Service chief, and the prosecutor-general about their reactions to a recent request made by former presidential bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko, who made secret audio recordings in President Leonid Kuchma's office in 2000, Interfax reported. Last week, Melnychenko asked Ukraine's leadership to confirm that his recordings contain state secrets in order to prevent those secrets from being leaked. Melnychenko explained that he has received an official demand from the U.S. Justice Department to hand over all the recordings he made in Kuchma's office. Melnychenko asked Kuchma and top Ukrainian officials to meet him and listen to the tapes together to determine what material is confidential. Melnychenko alleges that his recordings contain not only state secrets of Ukraine, but also of Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, Spain, Turkey, and some other countries. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 19 October)

FORMER PREMIER REPORTEDLY SUES 'FINANCIAL TIMES.' The "Ukrayinska pravda" website reported on 22 October that former Premier Viktor Yushchenko has sued the "Financial Times" for an article the newspaper published on 5 June 2000. The article, which dealt with then-U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to Kyiv, mentioned Yushchenko in one paragraph, saying that his government has been a disappointment and recalling that Yushchenko in his former capacity of National Bank governor was accused of mismanaging bank funds. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 23 October)

CITY COUNCIL TAKES OVER 'VECHIRNIY KYIV.' The Kyiv City Council decided on 6 September to create a municipal enterprise called the "'Vechirniy Kyiv' Editorial Board." The council has also given the mayor of Kyiv the right to appoint the newspaper's editor in chief. The paper had previously been owned by its staff. ("European Institute for the Media Ukraine Newsletter," September)

ANTI-SEMITIC MEDIA OUTLETS. The anti-Semitic Ukrainian children's magazine "Dzherltse" is still distributed in Kharkov schools, reports the Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry (UCSJ). In the magazine's October 2001 issue, an article by its chief editor refers to Jews as kikes; claims that the Talmud allows Jews the right to rape non-Jewish three-year-old girls; and blames Israel for the 11 September attack on the U.S. Last year, the magazine was taken to court by Jewish activists for allegedly violating a law which forbids incitement of ethnic hatred, but the trial seems to have dragged on without resolution, reports UCSJ. The Kharkov branch of the Prosvita foundation, which publishes "Dzherltse" reportedly receives government funds. In Lviv, the October issue of the paper "Idealist," with a print run of 1,200, ran an article calling for violence against Jews. (Union of Councils for Soviet Jewry, 25 October)

JOURNALISTS' ETHICS COMMISSION FORMED. Twelve leading Ukrainian journalists formed an ethics commission in September. It will focus on "creating a culture of professional and honest journalism, restoring trust in the media, and strengthening freedom of speech." Four NGOs, Khartiya-4, the Respublika institute, and the Ukrainian-Polish club, "Without Prejudice," backed the commission's formation. ("European Institute for the Media Ukraine Newsletter," September)

LEAGUE OF ECONOMIC JOURNALISTS REGISTERED. In September, the Justice Ministry registered the League of Economic Journalists which seeks to develop Ukrainian economic journalism on the principle of freedom of opinion. Representatives of five news agencies, seven newspapers, and four TV news agencies have joined the league. Hennadiy Harmash was elected the league's president. ("European Institute for the Media Ukraine Newsletter," September)

UKRAINIAN TV AVAILABLE IN RUSSIA VIA INTERNET. On 23 October in Moscow, the information service and the information center presented their joint Internet project that makes it possible for Russian audiences to watch Ukraine's leading TV networks UT-1, UT-2, Inter, STB, One Plus One, and ICTV in real time on the Internet. "For the first time, Ukrainian television can be watched all over the Russian Federation," UNIAN quoted Gleb Pavlovskii, the project leader and director of Russia's Effective Politics Center, as saying. ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)

NTV TO BE BROADCAST IN UKRAINE. Interfax reported on 23 October that in the near future, a new company -- NTV-Ukraine -- will begin broadcasting the programs of NTV in Ukraine. The creators of NTVUkraine believe, the news agency said, that "the creation of a single information space is possible only on the foundation of a civilized approach to the distribution of information which observes all licensing and copyright laws." ("RFE/RL Newsline," 24 October)

FOREIGNERS SAID TO DOMINATE SECTORS OF MOSCOW CRIME. Vladimir Sedykh, the deputy chief of the passport-visa service of the Moscow Internal Affairs administration, told Interfax-Moscow on 25 October that Africans and Asians dominate part of the drug business in the Russian capital and that gangs made up of Ukrainians, Moldovans, and Georgians dominate other sectors. He added that foreigners committed 1,844 crimes in Moscow during 2000 and that some 81 of them have been forcibly deported from Russia. PG